Commissioend for 1981 Cambridge Summer Music Festival

In memory of Bela Bartók

  • Piano
  • 12 min

Programme Note

My Piano Sonata was written in 1981 at the request of Paul Webster for his Cambridge Summer Music Festival with funds provided by the Eastern Arts Association. The first performance was given on 19 August 1981 during the Festival by Renee Reznek in the Concert Hall of the University Music School.

The Sonata is in one movement which consists of several sections; the basic harmonic character of the music is heard gradually, as the opening tritone grows into dancing contrapuntal writing. During the course of the work, much is made of fast ‘foreground’ counterpoint which is delineating slower ‘background’ harmonic progressions and the music proceeds in a quickly-changing kaleidoscope matter. Towards the end the truly first slow music is heard, but this quickly accelerates into a very fast passage which accumulates in rapidly rising arpeggios; these lead into a coda which consists of rising chords; this is interrupted by the fast music of the previous section more than once, but finally the chords silence the toccata-like music, having become a little chorale for Bela Bartok, to whose memory the sonata is dedicated.

Robert Saxton


Saxton: Sonata for Piano